About Gamblers Anonymous
Gamblers Anonymous is a unique spiritual movement, having no central government and little formal organisation. It is composed of people from many religious faiths, along with agnostics and atheists. Since membership in GA requires no particular religious beliefs as a condition of membership, it cannot be described as a religious society.
The GA Recovery Programme is based on acceptance of certain spiritual values, but the individual member is free to interpret these principles as s/he chooses. As used in GA, the word 'spiritual' can be said to describe that characteristic of the human mind which is marked by the highest and finest qualities, such as generosity, honesty, tolerance and humility. Inasmuch as the GA fellowship advocates acceptance of these principles as a way of life, it can thus be said that GA is a spiritual fellowship.
Membership of GA
The only requirement for membership of GA is a desire to stop gambling; there are no other rules or regulations.
Equally, there are no assessments in connection with GA membership. The newcomer signs nothing and pledges nothing.
However, we do have expenses relative to our group meetings and our GA service facilities (e.g. literature, phone line, prison visits, insurance, etc.). Since GA has traditionally been fully self-supporting and declines outside contributions, these expenses are met through voluntary financial support by the members. Experience has shown that acceptance of these financial responsibilities is a vital part of our individual and group growth process.
Anonymity in GA
Anonymity has a great practical value in maintaining unity within our fellowship. Through its practice at the level of the media we have eliminated the possibility of fame and recognition being given to the individual member; hence we have not been faced with any great internal struggles for power and prestige which would prove highly detrimental to our essential unity.
Anonymity also has great value in attracting new members who might feel there is a stigma attached to the problem. Therefore, we guarantee the newcomer as much anonymity as s/he chooses.
More importantly, we are beginning to realise that anonymity has a tremendous spiritual significance. It represents a powerful reminder that we need always place principles above personalities.
Our survival as individuals demands that we renounce personal glorification; so our GA movement not only advocates, but tries to practice true humility and it is through greater humility that we will be able to live in peace and security for all the years to come.
Service in GA
There are no officers or executives who wield authority over the fellowship or the individual. Even though GA is an informal organisation, certain jobs have to be done. In the local group, someone has to be responsible for the meeting place, look after the group finances, arrange for refreshments and keep in touch with other groups. This means that a group needs responsible people to perform these duties. In accepting these responsibilities, a member may acquire a title, but titles in GA are used only to designate areas of service. Those who accept these responsibilities are directly accountable to those they serve.
The question of abolishing gambling is a controversial issue about which GA has no opinion.